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Declaration of Interdependence

Philadelphia is the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. And it is a national emblem for free speech. Yet here in Philadelphia at the annual convention of the National Speakers Association this week they had a contest for people to write a Declaration of Interdependence. And I won!

Here’s what I wrote: “Remember that every past success is due in part to charity from others and every future thing I do will affect others.”

I am proud of our national legacy of independence. Yet I am also proud of our interdependence; that we form trade and political alliances with other countries, other cultures, and that we support the United Nations.

It is a myth to think that any person or any nation is truly independent and when we behave as though we are, conflict results. When we embrace and use interdependence to our advantage, the results can be spectacular.

There is a time for independence, like a child breaking free from her parents or a colony breaking free from its oppressor. Not all conflict is bad. Yet there is also a time for interdependence, like when recovering from hard times or solving hard problems.

When I am at my best I stand up for myself and act on my values AND I work with others to achieve great things. Simultaneously I take responsibility for myself and I give to others.


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